Guns of the “Border Reivers.” A very good Nuremberg all steel wheellock pistol circa 1585.

An extremely rare “plain” wheellock pistol circa 1585.
From the workshop of Peter Danner.
(Ex. Evan Perry collection. Ex. Royal Armouries.)
(photos courtesy of F.J.A.G.)
Odd View eh?
  And why you ask is it so very rare?…
  Well… it’s because our old friends the “Victorians” took most of the surviving examples, and “improved” them with lots of lovely etching and gilding… and the ones that managed to escape their attentions, are now the rarest of all!
  (Watch out, ’cause they did it with armour as well.)
  These plain straightforward guns must have been produced in their thousands… but few have made it through to the present day.
  They are also the direct ancestors of the Scottish all steel pistols made at Doune (and elsewhere.)
  See what I mean… that’s the wheellock under discussion at the back… and that in front of it is an Alexander Campbell (Doune) of the mid 18th century.
Alex. Campbell is reckoned to be about as good as it ever got. And so that above represents the beginning and the end of the “Scottish” (sic.) pistol, or more correctly of the all steel pistol in Scotland.
 Here are some more views of both pistols:-
There ought to be a belt hook on this side, but unfortunately it has not survived.
 Yes!… As the eagle eyed amongst you will have noted, Mr Danner’s initials, are out of line, and struck the wrong way around?
  And that is why I’ve classed it as “workshop of” rather than “by.”
  Imagine the situation… the pistol has been completed… It is perfect…  it is inspected… it is given the Nuremberg Guild mark…. and then?….
  Oh dear… the circumstances will be familiar to anyone who has worked in a large machine shop…
  The gun is passed over to the “apprentice” to strike the final marks…. A simple enough task… and surely not outside of his capabilities?
  But… the apprentice has celebrated the weekend rather too  enthusiastically, and is suffering the aftereffects of imbibing copious amounts of fine German Beer….
  He picks up the punches… he wavers… and then… he strikes…
  Those rather out of kilter initials… D…. P.
   Acht! Gott im Himmel…. They are the wrong way around!
  Quickly, surreptitiously,  he the conceals his mistake by placing the gun at the bottom of the batch of pistols he is working on….
  Perhaps if he is lucky… His master will never notice.
  Today…. We can view it as a little human touch… and one which adds interest to the piece.
   Lord knows what Mr Danner would have said!
   In the North East… where I come from… such things were referred to as “Monday morning pieces.”
   Nothing really changes does it.
   So remember… Never put your precious motor vehicle in for service on a Monday.
Detail of the initials.
The label on the butt plate is original to the Evan Perry Collection.
Like the little “boxing hare” locksmiths mark?
All in all, a fine untouched and interesting pistol of around 1585, with just that little extra added eccentricity.
This is what it eventually evolved into…
The Scots turned the ends of the butt plate down into “ramshorns” and came up with their very own style!
Note the belt hook, which is missing from the Nuremberg pistol.
That is a worn example which has probably seen a lot of action… but as I said above… Alexander Campbell of Doune is about as good as it gets…
Here are the dimensions:-
Wheellock :-
Weight :- 2 pounds 9 and a half ounces.
Overall Length :- 15 and three eighth inches.
Bore :- half an inch.   .50 … about a half ounce ball?
Barrel :- 8 and one quarter inches from touch hole to muzzle.
Alexander Campbell :-
Weight :- 1 pound 4 and three quarter ounces.
Overall length :- 12 and seven eighth inches.
Bore :- nine sixteenths of an inch.   .56 inches. Bit over a half ounce ball…
Barrel :- 7 and five eighth inches touch hole to muzzle.
 By: Brian Moffatt

Published by Clan Carruthers Society - USA

We are all passionate about where we came from and where we're going. We set this website/blog up so we can all share our family stories along with the history for future generations.

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